27 May 2019
The new 10-strong Lancaster Green councillors group have taken inspiration from the national party and appointed Dave Brookes and Caroline Jackson as co-leaders, after checking that the Council’s constitution allowed it. This is a first for the Council but apparently it is fine, although there cannot be a co-leader of the Council itself. We’ll cross that bridge if we come to it.
Following a week of negotiations, a ‘cooperative alliance’ agreement was signed by the leaders and deputies of the Green, Labour, and Liberal Democrat groups, just before the Mayor-Making ceremony. The agreement sets out some principles about how the three parties will work together in a joint administration of the City Council, and is based on a similar agreement from Stroud District Council between the same parties.
Greens have taken three positions on the 10-person Cabinet, with Tim Hamilton-Cox in the Economic Regeneration portfolio, Caroline Jackson in Housing, and Dave Brookes in Environmental Services. We expected the Liberal Democrats to take one of the Cabinet places, but it seems they did not push for it. The new Cabinet was appointed at Business Council last Monday, as were committee chairs, and new Castle Ward Green councillor, Paul Stubbins, was appointed Chair of the Council’s Audit Committee.
Since then we have had a group leaders meeting to consider how we are going to work up a policy programme for the new council. The need for councillors in the alliance parties to get to know each other was raised, and an event is being planned where councillors in cross-party groups will be able to put forward policy suggestions to cabinet members, with a particular focus on dealing with the Climate Emergency. We have scribbled down the policy suggestions made by members at the Green Party meeting last Tuesday, and we are happy to hear more, although please do read through our Local Manifesto first as everything in there is already on the list!
We have also had a wider meeting specifically to discuss the Local Plan, and Tim Hamilton-Cox’s determined work on this has received some recognition and support from Labour’s Erica Lewis, the new leader of the Council. On the concluding day of the Local Plan Inspection hearings, the Planning Inspector was informed that the new administration required the opportunity to reflect on aspects of the submitted Local Plan. It remains to be seen whether this will have any effect on the Local Plan at this late stage of proceedings, but it is a positive start.
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